On April 4th, 1968, the Reverend Samuel Billy Kyles stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He was standing with Jesse Jackson, Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King Jr, who had invited his three friends to dinner that evening. The events that unfolded on that balcony are known to us all.
Liane Hansen spoke to Reverend Kyles in 1993 before his Sunday sermon in which he marked the anniversary of King’s assassination.
HANSEN: Reverend Kyles, you’re going to be preaching, as you do on a Sunday. How will you mark the King holiday in your homily, your sermon?
Rev. KYLES: I’ll be talking about knocking holes in the darkness. It is said that Robert Louis Stevenson was a man who never enjoyed good health. He spent a lot of time in his room even as a child. He was always looking out the window. His nurse asked him one day, Robert, what are you doing? He said, I’m watching that old man knock holes in the darkness. She said, what are you talking about?
He would climb up the ladder and light the light, come down, move the ladder to the next pole, climb up, come down, move the ladder. And everywhere he would light a light it appeared to him with his little quick mind that a hole was being knocked in the darkness.
And so I’m suggesting that those of us who have the strength and the ability, we should be knocking holes in the darkness. So, Martin Luther King came to Memphis – it was a dark place to come, but he came and he came knocking holes in the darkness.